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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 Jul;65(7):864-71. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2011.48. Epub 2011 Apr 20.

Beta-glucan- or rice bran-enriched foods: a comparative crossover clinical trial on lipidic pattern in mildly hypercholesterolemic men.

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Endocrinology and Nutrition Unit, Department of Applied Health Sciences, Section of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine, Azienda di Servizi alla Persona di Pavia, University of Pavia Istituto di Cura Santa Margherita, Pavia, Italy.



There has been growing interest in using dietary intervention to improve the lipid profile. This work aims at analyzing the effects and the comparison of the enrichment of a diet with beta-glucans or rice bran in mildly hypercholesterolemic men.


The subjects initially consumed a 3-week Step 1 American Heart Association diet with rice bran-enriched foods. After this adaptation period, volunteers were randomly assigned to follow a crossover, controlled trial that consisted of two treatment with beta-glucan- or rice bran-enriched foods, each of 4 weeks, with a 3-week wash-out, like the adaptation period, between periods. Fasted blood samples were collected on days 0, 21, 49, 70 and 98 in both study arms for measuring low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol (primary outcome), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein (apo) A-I, apo B and glucose levels.


Twenty-four men (mean age: 50.3±5.3, mean body mass index: 24.9±1.9) completed the 14-week trial. Subjects in the 3-week adaptation period experienced significant reductions in the mean level of LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol/HDL cholesterol, apo A-I, apo A-I/apo B and glucose. During the intervention diet periods, a difference was found between treatment groups for the mean change in LDL (0.21 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.02-0.40), P=0.033) and total cholesterol (0.34 (95% CI: 0.20-0.47), P<0.001). Other parameters evaluated were not significantly affected by the diet consumed.


The results of the present crossover clinical trial showed that beta-glucan-enriched foods are more effective in lowering serum LDL levels, compared with rice bran-enriched foods.

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